Retirement Savings 101: 401(k)s, IRAs, Roths, Oh my!

Retirement golden eggs on dollars, IRA in focus, 401k blurryOver the past two weeks we have compared Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs and 401(k)s to Roth 401(k)s. Today we wrap up the series with a recap comparison to help guide you through the various ways to save for your retirement.

Traditional IRA

Established by: Individual
Contribution Limits: Up to $5,500 per year age 49 or below / $6,500 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Pre-tax (unless non-deductible, then post-tax)
Matching Contributions: None
Distributions: Taxable and a 10% penalty unless 59 ½ or older (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: Must start withdrawing funds at age 70 ½
Conversions/Rollovers: Can be converted to Roth IRA. Taxes paid during year of conversion. Deductible contributions can be rolled into a 401(k) if allowed by 401(k) plan.

Roth IRA

Established by: Individual
Contribution Limits: Up to $5,500 per year age 49 or below / $6,500 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Post-tax
Matching Contributions: None
Distributions: Contributions may always be withdrawn tax and penalty free. Earnings prior to age 59 ½ are taxable and assessed a 10% penalty. Earnings after 59 ½ are tax-free unless the Roth IRA has been open less than 5 years in which case they are taxable and assessed a 10% penalty. (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: None
Conversions/Rollovers: None

Traditional 401(k)

Established by: Employer
Contribution Limits: Employee may contribute up to $18,000 per year age 49 or below / $24,000 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Pre-tax
Matching Contributions: Employer’s discretion
Distributions: Taxable and a 10% penalty unless
· If separated from service after age 55 or
· age 59 ½ or older (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: Must start withdrawing funds at age 70 ½ unless still employed and not a 5% owner
Conversions/Rollovers: Upon termination of employment may
· Rollover to an IRA – not currently taxable
· Rollover to 401(k) if allowed by new employer – not currently taxable
· Convert to a Roth IRA – taxable event
· Distributed directly to owner – taxable event.

Roth 401(k)

Established by: Employer
Contribution Limits: Employee may contribute up to $18,000 per year age 49 or below / $24,000 per year age 50 and above (limits adjusted annually)
Contributions: Post-tax
Matching Contributions: Employer’s discretion (employer contributions are pre-tax dollars)
Distributions: Tax-free, but a 10% penalty plus taxes on earnings unless
· If separated from service after age 55 or
· age 59 ½ or older and the account has been open for at least 5 years (exceptions may apply)
Forced Distributions: Must start withdrawing funds at age 70 ½ unless still employed and not a 5% owner.
Conversions/Rollovers: Upon termination of employment may
· Rollover to a Roth IRA
· Rollover to a Roth 401(k) if allowed by new employer.

Which retirement savings account is right for you? For some, a 401(k) plus a Roth IRA may be the way to go. For others it might be a traditional IRA with a 401(k). Retirement saving decisions are as unique as you are.

As with any big financial decision, we recommend talking to a professional. Financial planners can help guide you to the best decision for your retirement and create a custom plan tailored to your individual goals.

If you are interested in a complimentary consultation, give us a call today at 303.639.5100 or visit shwj.com.

*Research for this post done on IRS.gov

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